NEW YORK, November 8, 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The international law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP announced today it is opening its new Hong Kong office, a combination with the Hong Kong practice of Coudert Brothers LLP.
The office opening is the first phase of the plan previously announced by the leadership of the two firms. In August, the U.S. headquarters of Orrick and Coudert reached an agreement for the transition to Orrick of the substantial portion of Coudert’s China practice, comprised of operations in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.
The Law Society of Hong Kong has approved the registration of Orrick as a foreign registered law firm and its association with Coudert Brothers, a locally established law partnership. Orrick has submitted its application to the Beijing Judicial Bureau and Shanghai Judicial Bureau to operate there.
“This is a tremendous milestone for our firm and for the China practice of Coudert,” said Orrick Chairman and CEO Ralph Baxter. “Decisions about where to expand our firm are made deliberately and carefully. We strategically identify the markets vital to our clients in business and finance. As one of the world’s most dynamic economies, China is critical. The team joining us from Coudert is exceptional in every way: They are the preeminent legal experts in China and they share the personal characteristics we value at Orrick.”
The partners in the new Orrick Coudert Hong Kong office include Edward Fung, David Halperin, Neal A. Stender, Sook Young Yeu and Adrian H.K. Yip. In addition, 15 associates and of-counsel from Coudert are joining the combined Hong Kong office. Christopher Stephens, along with the three partners in the Beijing and Shanghai offices of Coudert Brothers LLP, remain partners of Coudert Brothers LLP pending the completion of the application process for the Beijing and Shanghai offices. The other partners in Beijing and Shanghai include Landon Prieur, Hugh T. Scogin, Jr., and Xiaowei (Sherry) Yin.
The combination of Coudert’s China Practice with Orrick is part of the winding-down of Coudert’s global network, and includes the transfer to Orrick of the premises in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, as well as offers of continuing employment to all associates and staff in all three offices. Nine of the 11 China partners will join Orrick, including the five partners who have now joined Orrick in Hong Kong. The overwhelming majority of associates, consultants and staff in all three offices have accepted Orrick’s offer of continuing employment, as well.
The primary objectives of the China combination were ”to make the transfer smooth and orderly for our clients, lawyers and staff in China,” the two firms confirmed in a joint statement.
”By agreeing to combine the entire practice with Orrick, we sought to ensure a seamless transition for our clients and to preserve career opportunities for our people, many of whom have been with us in China for many years,” said David Halperin, senior partner, who has been a fixture in the Hong Kong legal landscape since the 1970s. Halperin was a special assistant to Henry Kissinger, an adviser to the president on national security issues when the U.S. and China were first making overtures about establishing diplomatic relations. ”Of the many firms with which we spoke about moving our practice,” said Halperin, “Orrick stood alone as the firm most focused on clients and people.”
In a further agreement between Orrick and Coudert, the China-related practice in Coudert’s New York head office, led by Owen D. Nee, also transitioned to Orrick. Mr. Nee, who opened Coudert’s Beijing office in 1979 and was one of the first international lawyers to focus on China, joined Orrick in its New York office in September. In addition, earlier this year, Coudert’s London and Moscow offices joined Orrick, and more recently Washington, D.C.-based Olga Sirodoeva moved to Orrick where she will continue to focus on work in Russia and the CIS countries.
The China practice has built a strong legacy that handled many of the first and most important commercial transactions involving China. The partners, many of them trained locally and fluent in Mandarin, are recognized legal authorities on a wide range of matters involving China, including foreign direct investment, finance, investment funds, securities listings and capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, corporate and commercial transactions, intellectual property and dispute resolution.
Orrick’s expansion into China continues the firm’s strategy of developing a global resource to provide seamless advice to the firm’s Fortune 500 and FT 1000 clients. It is consistent with the firm’s model of adding teams of leading practitioners who are locally experienced, fluent in the local business and legal culture and focused on sophisticated international matters.
About Orrick Coudert’s Hong Kong Partners
Edward Fung headed the corporate practice of Coudert’s Hong Kong office. He focuses on corporate and commercial matters, advising Hong Kong listed companies and merchant banks on corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures, and transactions involving the China market. Fung earned an LL.B. (1979) as well as a Post-Graduate Certificate in Law (1980) from the University of Hong Kong.
David R. Halperin, who has practiced law in Hong Kong for more than 25 years, advises venture capital and direct investment clients with respect to their Asian investments. He also is regional counsel to Reebok.
Halperin earned an A.B. from Columbia University in 1965. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1966-1970 and as a Special Assistant to Admiral E.R. Zumwalt, Commander of Naval Forces, Vietnam, from 1969-70. From 1970-71, he was Personal Assistant to Dr. Henry Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. Halperin earned a J.D. from Harvard University in 1974.
Neal A. Stender focuses on international investments, transactions and operations in China and Hong Kong. He advises clients on joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, intellectual property licensing and protection, tax planning, customs and trade, real property, environmental compliance, and distribution.
Stender attended McGill University in 1976-77 and the Beijing Language Institute in 1979-80. He earned a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1982 and a J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1989.
Sook Young Yeu focuses on the establishment and ongoing representation of investment funds, fund managers and fund sponsors in private equity and venture capital investment and related corporate restructuring, mergers and acquisitions and public and private securities offerings throughout the Asia-Pacific region. She headed Coudert’s Asian investment management practice.
Yeu earned a B.A. from Yale College in 1977 and a J.D. in 1980 from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was editor of the California Law Review.
Adrian H.K. Yip focuses on dispute resolution, advising major corporate and financial entities in restructuring and insolvency matters and commercial disputes and coordinating efforts in Hong Kong and China for various European and U.S. manufacturers in intellectual property protection matters. He also advises clients on compliance issues and handles investigations and enquiries by regulatory bodies. Yip earned a Bachelor of Laws, honors, from the University of Hong Kong in 1988 and a Postgraduate Certificate in Law in 1989.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 800 lawyers in North America, Europe and Asia. The firm focuses on litigation, complex and novel finance transactions, and innovative corporate transactions. The firm’s present 16 offices are located in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Orange County, Pacific Northwest, London, Paris, Milan, Rome, Moscow, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Taipei.
For more than 150 years, Coudert Brothers LLP pioneered the practice of commercial law for the international community. Founded in 1853 in New York, Coudert was the first U.S. firm to open an office in Hong Kong, in 1972, and in Beijing, in 1979. On August 16, 2005, Coudert’s partners voted to wind down the business of Coudert with a view to the orderly transition of client matters and personnel to other firms.